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The EU Education Policy in the Post-Lisbon Era

A Comprehensive Approach


Caroline U. Amann

This book provides a comprehensive view of the current state of affairs and possible developments in EU education law and policy. It covers the innovations brought about by the Lisbon Treaty as well as the Lisbon/EU 2020 Strategy and its implications for education and training and analyses the EU programme Erasmus+. Moreover, it takes a close look at the right to education as contained in the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights of the European Union and outlines the main trends in European Court of Justice case law. Finally, it focuses on cohesion policy measures and assesses the education initiatives undertaken by macro-regional strategies and the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) European Region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino.


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7. Main Trends in ECJ Case Law


147 7. Main Trends in ECJ Case Law Over two decades ago, the ECJ was criticized for being “an excessively activist judiciary”.533 However, owing to the framework nature of the TEEC, there was bound to be judicial activism. In fact, the Court was (and still is) supposed to find solutions for legal questions left open by Community/EU law.534 Naturally, functional spillover is on the agenda. In order to meet the requirements of the internal market, the ECJ may take decisions which are not benefitting the Mem- ber State(s) concerned. In the education sector, this is the case with regard to access to study, student maintenance in form of student grants and loans or the right of residence for third-country nationals who act as the primary carer for Union citizens still in education. However, Member States that perceive a ruling as going too far are limited in terms of action. They may seek amendment of the Treaties. This in turn requires unanimity in the European Council as well as rati- fication by all the Member States (cf. Article 48 TEU). As De Waele poignantly puts it: “one lone dissenting voice is enough to uphold the unwanted judgment and the eventual undesired consequences thereof.”535 While the ECJ has been referred to as “the main culprit” behind competence creep,536 its contribution to shaping the EU of today must also be acknowledged. Indeed, the current EU education policy may well be described as the product of extensive Court rulings. The...

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